To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is.
Every fanatic or enemy of virtue is not at liberty to misrepresent the greatest geniuses and most heroic defenders of all that is valuable in this mortal world. History, to gain any credit, must contain some truth, and that truth shall thus be made a sufficient indication of prejudice and deceit.
There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions.
Consider prejudice. Once a person begins to accept a stereotype of a particular group, that "thought" becomes an active agent, "participating" in shaping how he or she interacts with another person who falls in that stereotyped class. In turn, the tone of their interaction influences the other person’s behavior. The prejudiced person can’t see how his prejudice shapes what he "sees" and how he acts. In some sense, if he did, he would no longer be prejudiced. To operate, the "thought" of prejudice must remain hidden to its holder.
Habits of thought lead us to brush aside descriptions of cruelty to animals as emotional, for "animal-lovers only"; or if not that, then anyway the problem is so trivial in comparison to the problems of human beings that no sensible person could give it time and attention. This too is a prejudice - for how can one know that a problem is trivial until one has taken the time to examine its extent?
There seems to be a vicious cycle at work here, making ours not just an economy but a culture of extreme inequality. Corporate decision makers, and even some two-bit entrepreneurs like my boss at The Maids, occupy an economic position miles above that of the underpaid people whose labor they depend on. For reasons that have more to do with class — and often racial — prejudice than with actual experience, they tend to fear and distrust the category of people from which they recruit their workers. Hence the perceived need for repressive management and intrusive measures like drug and personality testing. But these things cost money — $20,000 or more a year for a manager, $100 a pop for a drug test, and so on — and the high cost of repression results in ever more pressure to hold wages down. The larger society seems to be caught up in a similar cycle: cutting public services for the poor, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the 'social wage,' while investing ever more heavily in prisons and cops. And in the larger society, too, the cost of repression becomes another factor weighing against the expansion or restoration of needed services. It is a tragic cycle, condemning us to ever deeper inequality, and in the long run, almost no one benefits but the agents of repression themselves.
Some of the most effective approaches to promoting affirmative living are those that involve the entire village. An annual event in Boston called Team Harmony brings middle and high school students together with local sports figures and business leaders to take a stand against prejudice and bigotry. After the Team Harmony event in 1994, many students wrote about the positive messages they received. Since the event, I want to do all that I can to stop racism, one of them wrote. I want everyone to live in peace and harmony, where there is no hatred and no violence.
It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom.
The first was never to accept anything as true if I did not know clearly that it was so; that is, carefully to avoid prejudice and jumping to conclusions, and to include nothing in my judgments apart from whatever appeared so clearly and distinctly to my mind that I had no opportunity to cast doubt upon it.
It unequivocally maintains the principle of equal rights, opportunities, and privileges for men and women, insists on compulsory education, eliminates extremes of poverty and wealth, abolishes the institution of priesthood, prohibits slavery, asceticism, mendicancy, and monasticism, prescribes monogamy, discourages divorce, emphasizes the necessity of strict obedience to one's government, exalts any work performed in the spirit of service to the level of worship, urges either the creation or the selection of a auxiliary international language, and delineates the outlines of those institutions that must establish and perpetuate the general peace of mankind.
Man does not see reality as it is, but only as he perceives it, and his perception may be mistaken or biased.
Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.
In order that we might receive that love whereby we should love, we were ourselves loved, while as yet we had it not.
To the extent that you pray from your soul for the one who spread scandal about you, God will reveal the truth to those who were told the scandal.
In this matter [of the incarnation] my ignorance far surpasses my knowledge; but this one thing I know well, that I am ignorant of things which I cannot understand.
Murder and theft have been committed since the earliest history of mankind, but that fact has not made murder meritorious or larceny legal.
I agree with you, too, that it is hardly fair to have our people crowded out of employment by those who simply come here for the purpose of working at low wages -- higher than those they may be accustomed to in their own countries-- and then after a while return there. I am also free to say to you, however, that I do not see how a remedy is to be obtained without closing the ports entirely, and as to that there is considerable division of opinion. It may not be amiss to call attention to the fact that the introduction of one machine in a trade may throw more men out of employment than the Greeks who come here even in the manner which you describe.
What a blessing this smoking is! Perhaps the greatest that we owe to the discovery of America.
We have solved... the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government, and obedience to the laws, And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving everyone to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason, and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.
One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.